For many people who are trying to lose weight, adopting healthier habits (such as eating well and exercising regularly) make the pounds fall off quickly at first. But after a while, the scale can become stuck—and it won’t budge. What gives?
Weight loss plateaus are actually quite common, obesity expert Caroline Cederquist, MD, medical director of Cederquist Medical Wellness Center in Naples, Florida, previously told Health. Sometimes a plateau occurs because your slimmed-down figure has shed both fat and lean muscle, which can slow down your metabolism, she says. As a result, the healthy changes you originally made may not be cutting it anymore. If you feel like you’ve reached your ideal weight, keep up the good work! But if you’re hoping to lose a little more, have no fear: revamping your habits can help you push past the plateau.
First, take a close look at your caloric intake. Weight loss often comes down to calories-in versus calories-out, so if you’re consuming more than you’re burning, you probably won’t see the needle move in the direction you want it to. Keeping a food diary and measuring out portion sizes (seriously, you’d be surprised what a serving of peanut butter actually looks like!) can help you keep closer track of your daily intake.
Incorporating strength training to your workout regimen can also help. That’s because lifting weights amps up muscle mass, which in turn helps your body burn more fat throughout the day, even when it’s at rest. Is there anything better than torching calories in your sleep? Didn’t think so.
Also surprising: Getting a better handle on your stress levels and making sure you log plenty of Zs every night may help your body push past a weight loss plateau, too. Curious how that works? In this video, we explain six smart ways to keep losing weight once you’ve hit a roadblock.